It‘s a miracle when your life goes exactly as planned. We create these elaborate plans of what we want our future to look like, but more often than not, life does not always work out that way. You may have had plans of being married by 30 but you’re approaching your 40s wondering when God will pull through. You may have envisioned yourself to be further along in your career but you’re seeing your peers progressing faster than you.

What I’ve learned is that when you let the values of this world drive your actions, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and a life of stress.

I had to learn this lesson the hard way as it pertains to my professional career.

Within the last year, it was my dream to work at LinkedIn, the business and employment social networking service. The culture and values are second to none. I fell in love with the company during my previous office tour. The company spoils its employees with delicious free breakfast and lunch daily, pays for gym memberships and massages, and compensates its employees very well.

In late 2016, LinkedIn called me to extend an offer to work for them. I had achieved my goal of working for LinkedIn. I was making close to a six-figure salary at the age of 25 and working for a prestigious company. I had it made…or so I thought.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, my employment at LinkedIn came to an end. I was left confused, devastated, and worried. I wondered why God brought me into a new city and employer only to leave me floating in limbo. Being someone who is constantly “doing,” I felt unproductive and useless without a defined routine and job to go to.

This experience gave me the opportunity to reflect and learn. Here are three lessons learned from being fired at LinkedIn:

“Being” Is More Important than “Doing”

We are human beings, not human doings. God does not love you more or less based on your works. It does not matter if you make a million dollars a year as an executive or do not have a job. First and foremost, we are called to BE loved by God, which means allowing Him to love us just as we are.

We live in a time where being busy means that you are being a productive contributing member of society. However, it’s important to know your motivations and heart for staying busy.

You can win on the outside, but lose on the inside.

The day after being let go from LinkedIn allowed me to simply be grateful for another day on earth, my supportive friends and family, and my relationship with God. Being fired forced me to slow down and remind myself of my self-worth in Jesus rather than my salary and status.

We Can’t Plan Every Detail of our Lives

This statement seems obvious, but we often find ourselves taking our earthly blessings for granted and finding our security in the things of this world.

My initial plan when I got into LinkedIn was to stay for a few years and be promoted to a manager position. God shut the door on my foolish plan thinking I can achieve success without Him.

James 4:13 says “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”

It’s smart to plan and make goals, but God is always the ultimate authority. He allows certain circumstances to occur in order to build our character and redirect us. When this happens, we must be flexible to the reality God has put us in and remain grateful for our current situation.

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The Value of Complimenting Ourselves

It seems ridiculous to compliment ourselves, but how often do we negatively criticize and bully ourselves? There are enough people who have negative comments to say about you so you’re only helping them by thinking negatively.

“I’m such a failure. Why can’t I be fit like him? I wish I had as much charisma as her.” Do any of these phrases sound familiar?

Your thoughts become words, words become actions, and actions become habits. If we think down on ourselves (thoughts), our habits will reflect who we think we are. This can result in lower self-confidence and motivation.

Being fired from LinkedIn created a cycle of thoughts of unworthiness and failure. What has helped me overcome these compulsive thoughts was complimenting the positives about myself.

“Alex, great job with getting through the workout today.”

“You are beautiful/handsome just the way you are.”

“I really like how you helped that stranger.”

“You are more intelligent, worthy, and talented than you believe.”

Let’s take time each day to compliment and love ourselves. There’s enough negativity in this world, so allow you to love yourself.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14

Alex Tran works at LinkedIn where he focuses on organizational and talent development of emerging and medium-sized businesses. Alex is passionate about helping lost people become found, spiritually and vocationally. His mission is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ by counseling individuals through life's circumstances. His life dream is to live overseas in the APAC region with his future family serving college students and 20-somethings.